What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Each Month a Decade

Posted by Dirck on 31 December, 2018

Didn’t the last year feel that way to you?

But let’s avoid politics. I’m going to do what I did at this time last year and show you some almost meaningless stats regarding my writing endeavours:

Now… that looks like a couple of slack years, but there was the novel-writing wheeze that I was pursuing, wasn’t there. To the 2018 “Completed Words” we might add, if feeling recklessly charitable, the 89,374 words of the second draft on the novel. We do not feel thus charitable, since the second draft sits quietly, still awaiting the work that will render it worth foisting even upon beta-readers, but it does make the words/year count of the past two years seem a little less sparse.

It is that as-yet-gestating novel that occupies most of my thoughts in the current retrospective mood, because I have over the past few weeks been thinking about the effect of the effort of creation which it represented on me and the other stuff I’ve been at since I embarked upon it. The column to the right is the one that gets me. 2016 was definitely The Year I Got Serious, and the fact that in the following two years I finished so little is… embarrassing.

If it were just the numbers, though, I’d give the embarrassed aspect of myself a slap and a point out that great heap of words lurking in the background. There is, I come to realize now that I’ve given it some thought, some lingering effects of spending a lot of writing time not finishing something. I’ve had more trouble grinding out the stories that followed the novel’s typing-up than is quite right, and when I haven’t been having trouble pushing the thoughts out of my head and onto paper, it’s frequently been because I’ve been lapsing into poor habits I’d believed to be behind me.

I think, I hope, that I’ve gotten things back in hand.  The latest item on the front-line, “Preserve My Fondest Memories,” has felt a little more like soaring over the slopes of Helicon, bourne up by the good-will of the Muses, than it has like trying to pull my own teeth (which has definitely been the case with a couple of this year’s efforts). I’ve had a couple of encouraging personalized rejection notes back on a couple of submissions rather than the all-too-frequent form letters†. However, the fact that running up the novel as far as it has gone thus far has had this effect on my general attempts to carve lumps of language into pleasing shapes makes me wonder if it’s something I’m quite up to.

But because I’m also The Amazing Self-Defeating Man, there’s a lot of world-building gone on for one of the other novel-sized notions I have drifting around my mental orbit. Sigh.

I mentioned preparing technology in Friday’s oddly-placed progress report. I have, with the urging of my wife (who is at very least a catspaw of the Muses if not an occasional avatar), bought an iPad to replace the increasingly rickety tablet I got four years ago, at the same time as the camera I still occasionally use to good effect. I have allowed myself the foolish magical ideation that the iPad is the solution to some of my creative woes. It will pair with the bluetooth keyboard I own, something Rickety couldn’t manage for more than thirty seconds at a go (a bit of a creative flow throttle, that).

However… I also apparently got a dud, so high-minded plans for creative flow on Sunday went out the window with a marathon session of chat with Apple Support. The upshot is that my plan from Saturday of “take it back to the store” now has Official Apple Sanction, without which the story bluntly declined to do a return. I think the Apple Support people were very pleasant and anxious to help… but it does sour the mood somewhat that it took several hours of

  • Try this–
  • Did it before I contacted you, but why not again?
  • OK, what about this?
  • It made a noise, but not the right noise. Still no screen.
  • (long pause for thought) How about this other thing?
  • (ten minutes of downloading later) Nope.

before the admission of a hardware problem and allowance to return a not-working object. I hope the one I pick up today is less… unique in its attributes.

But what about the pens? Won’t somebody think of the pens?!

Oh, yes. They’re not forgotten, although I’m starting to worry slightly that age-related modifications to my vision might see me have to drop repairs for others… sometime. The main problem I face in the direction of pens is financial.

Particularly since I just bought an iPad.

It takes money to get pens. Pen repair is not vastly lucrative. You will remember my big coup of 2018 was a Montblanc…

An elderly, slightly beat-up Montblanc of a model hardly anyone has heard of.

…which cost very little. The other additions to my site have likewise been on the cheap side, not unlike the Sterno of last resort for a drunkard who can no longer afford brandy. The problem with these little darlings is that they are not particularly re-sellable, and so count as a pure outgoing. I could for example flog the Montblanc for somewhat more than I paid, having cleaned it out and set its point to rights, but without inflated shipping cost shenanigans, this Pelikan…

…would still show up as a red item in the accounts if I sold it at correct market value. Ditto various WIng Sungs and Jin Haos I’ve used to quiet the monkey on my back.

It’s not like I need to feed that beast, of course. There is not, in my case at least, a stylophilic equivalent of the DTs. But there’s the sensation of not serving my site and those who look at it, even though I realize in my brief periods of lucidity that the V’Ger impulse to learn all that is learnable is foolish at best, and utterly ridiculous when being turned upon a consumer product still in production, with new models popping up all the time. If I wanted to make a site that shows all the variations of a certain class of object, I probably should have gone with something like flintlock-equipped firearms in active military service (which, I’ll bet, has a more recent date of final appearance than I suspect).

There’s also a matter of how much energy and time I am able to devote to the whole pen game. I’ve only got so much at hand, it seems to be waning (time more than energy, which given the subjective length of this year surely counts as a paradox), and there are other things I want to apply it to. My writing, of course. My family, obviously. Stuff like that.

I get this way at intervals, though. I’m sure this mood will pass eventually. Heck, I’ve got updates for the site that just need a bit of polish even at this moment. Let me drop a hint:

She probably is short, but there’s no reason to shout about it.

Happy new year to you all, then, and may it find the passage of time returning to a more sensible pace.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer NoNonsense Old Timer (part of a costume for a party tonight)
Today’s ink: Skrip Black

†Which are generally kind in their formulation, which I do appreciate. There is no evident will to wound among sub-editors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: